Assisted tree migration

Assisted tree migration project

Lead researcher: Ed Morrice, RPF

Five trial plantations were established in the central interior of BC to explore the survival and growth of non-typical tree species that may be better adapted to future climates.

Year one Activities (2011-2012)

Plantation locations included north and south aspects sites near Bear Lake (SBSwk1) and Coalmine FSR (SBSmk1), as well as a level site near Red Rock and Pacific Regeneration Technologies (PRT) tree nursery (SBSmh) (Figure 1).


Fig.1 Red Rock seedling trial

Plantation layout included 20 replicates of 5 randomly planted western larch, Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine, and western red cedar seedlings (Figure 2). Twenty white spruce seedlings per trial were selected as control groups at the Bear Lake and Coalmine FSR locations. Western red cedar are scheduled for planting in the spring 2013. The planting of weevil-resistant white pine, in sites adjacent to the main plantations, has been extended to 2014.


Fig.2 Western Larch (left), Ponderosa Pine, and Douglas Fir potted for destructive testing

  • Microclimate data logger instrumentation was installed in the center of each of the five seedling trials, which included soil moisture sensors, temperature sensors, and air temperature sensors at seedling height.
  • Fall assessment of the trial seedlings and the spruce control seedlings was recorded and included initial growth, health, survival, and terminal bud set (Figure 3) as an indicator of dormancy development.


Fig.3 Budset averages by trial site, August 2012 data

Year two Activities (2012-2013)

Spring assessments of the seedlings winter survival was assessed including a record of seedling health, survival, and terminal bud flush on all five trials (Figure 4).


Fig.4 Coalmine FSR, south aspect plantation (north aspect visible in background)

Western red cedar was planted within all five seedling trials (Figure 5), the sites were brushed, and layout was validated.


Fig.5 Western red cedar planted June 2013

  • An additional soil moisture probe was added to all microclimate stations. Soil moisture data are collected at depths of 20 cm and 10 cm.
  • Completion of the seedling establishment phase was assessed with a 100% measure of all seedlings for attributes of seedling growth, health, survival, and terminal bud set.

Results and Analysis

Results forthcoming.

Information Dissemination

  • Northern Silviculture Committee (NSC) Winter Workshop presentation, “Climate change studies on the CNC Research Forest (PDF),” University of Northern British Columbia, February 2013.
  • NSERC Project Site tours: Research Forest Society Board, September 2012; Dunkley Lumber Ltd., October 2012.

Construction of a weather station: taking microclimate measurements for the assisted migration projects